|Region||Southwestern, around present-day Tainan, from Peimen to Hengchun to Tapu.|
|Extinct||end of 19th century; revitalization movement|
Several Siraya communities have been involved in a Sirayan cultural and language revitalization movement for more than a decade. Through linguistic research and language teaching, the natives are 'awaking' their mother tongue that has been 'dormant' for a century. Today a group of Siraya children in the Shinhua township particularly in Kou-pei and Chiou Chen Lin area are able to speak and sing in the Siraya language.
The Siraya dialects (or sometimes Sirayaic languages) are:
- Siraya proper — spoken in the coastal area of Tainan Plain.
- Taivuan — spoken mostly in the inland of Tainan Plain to the north (just west of Southern Tsouic territories).
- Makatau — spoken in Kaohsiung and Pingtung Prefectures to the south (just west of Paiwan territories).
Paul Jen-kuei Li (2009) attempted a classification. However, Li (2009) found two conflicting trees:
1. Tree based on the number of phonological innovations
2. Tree based on the relative chronology of sound changes
Li (2009) considers the second tree (the one containing the Taivuan–Makatau group) to be the somewhat more likely one.
The Siraya language entered the historical record in the early 17th century when traders from the Dutch East India Company, expelled from mainland China and Chinese waters, set up a stronghold on Taiwan at Fort Zeelandia, which was in the Siraya-speaking area. During the period of Dutch rule in Taiwan, Calvinist missionaries used Siraya and Babuza (also known as Favorlang) as contact languages. A translation of the Gospel of St. Matthew into Siraya (174 pages of Siraya and Dutch text, Gravius 1661) and a catechism in Siraya (288 pages of Siraya and Dutch text, Gravius 1662) were published, and have been subsequently republished. The Dutch colony was driven out in 1661 by Ming loyalist refugees from China, and Taiwan was subsequently incorporated into the Qing Empire. During the period of Qing Dynasty rule, use of Siraya receded, but some Siraya language materials survive in the form of Siraya land contracts with Chinese translations, known as the Sinckan Manuscripts. The last records were lists of words made in the early 19th century.
The Tainan Ping-pu Siraya Association is compiling the first modern-day Siraya glossary. Publication is scheduled for November 2008.
The phonological system of Siraya is speculated by Adelaar (1997) to have the following phonemes.
Consonants (18-20 total)
b d nḡ
p t k
m n ng
[f] s x h
Vowels (7 total)
- a, ä, i (ĭ), e, ə, u (ŭ), o
Diphthongs (6 total)
- ay, ey, uy, äw, aw, ow
Palatalization also occurs in many words.
Siraya auxiliaries constitute an open class and are placed at the head of the verb phrase (Adelaar 1997).
The Siraya personal pronouns below are from Adelaar (1997).
|1p. (incl.)||ĭmĭtta||-(m)ĭtta, -(m)eta||-kĭtta||ĭmittä-n|
|1p. (excl.)||ĭmi-an||-(m)ian, -(m)iän||-kame||mian-än (mian-an)|
|3p.||ta neini||nein||neini||neini-än (neini-an)|
The list of function words below is sourced from Adelaar (1997).
- atta, k(a)-atta 'this, these'
- anna, k(a)-anna 'that, those'
- mang 'what?'
- ti mang 'who?'
- tu mang 'where'
- mama mang, mama ki mang, mameymang 'how?'
- kaumang 'why?'
- assi (also "aoussi") 'no(t)'
- ĭnna' don't'
- nĭnno 'nothing'
- mi-kakua.. . assi ("myhkaqua ... assi") 'never'
- ĭnnang ("ynnang") 'refuse to, not want to; don't'
- ti - personal article
- ta - topic marker
- tu - locative marker
- ki - default relation marker
- tu ämäx ki - "before"
- tu lam ki - "together with"
- ka - coordinating conjunction (links verbal clauses)
The following list of Siraya verb affixes is from Adelaar (1997).
- ni-: past tense
- ma-, m-, -m-: actor focus / orientation
- pa-: undergoer focus / orientation
- mey- ~ pey-: actor- and undergoer-oriented verbs (used with verbs describing a high degree of physical involvement)
- mu- ~ (p)u-: actor- and undergoer-oriented verbs (used with verbs describing a movement toward something)
- ma-: stative intransitive verbs; words with no apparent word-class affiliations (precategorials)
- paka-: causative
- pa-: transitive (often with causative result)
- ka-: expresses feeling, emotion, sensation (undergoer-oriented verbs and deverbal nouns only)
- -ən, -an: undergoer focus / orientation
- -a, -ey, -aw: irrealis
- -(l)ato: possibly a perfective marker
See also Proto-Austronesian language for a list of Proto-Austronesian verbal affixes.
- mattäy- / pattäy-: "talking, saying"
- smaki-: "throwing,casting"
- sau-: "swearing, making an oath"
- mu-, pu-: movement into a certain direction
- mey- / pey-: high degree of physical involvement
- sa-: movement through a narrow place
- taw-: downward movement, a movement within a confined space
|10||saat kĭttiän||ka-sasaat kĭttiän|
|Examples of higher numerals|
|12||saat kĭttiän äb ki ruha|
|14||saat kĭttiän äb ki pat|
|99||matuda kĭttiän äb ki matuda|
- The Lord's Prayer
Raman-jan ka ito-tounnoun kow ki vullu-vullum;
Pakou-titik-auh ta nanang-oho,
Pa-irou-au ta pei-sasou-an- oho,
Paamt-au ta kamoei-en-hou, mama tou tounnoun ki vullum, k'ma-hynna tou Naei
Ph'ei -kame wae'i k'atta ki paoul-ian ka mamsing.
Atta-ral-a ki kaeu-itting-en-hou ymiaen-an, mama ka attaral-kame ta ymiaen ki kaeu-itting-'niaen
Ka inei-kame dmyllough tou repung-an, ra haoumi-ei-kame ki littou.
Ka a'mouhou ta pei-sasou-an, ta pei-lpoug-han, ta keirang-en ki kidi tou yhkaquan myd-darynnough,
- Musu hapa Siraya (Chinese)
- Li, Paul Jen-kuei. 2009. "Linguistic differences among Siraya, Taivuan, and Makatau." In Alexander Adelaar and Andrew Pawley (eds.). Austronesian historical linguistics and culture history: a festschrift for Robert Blust. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
- Gravius, Daniel (1661). Het heylige Euangelium Matthei en Johannis. Ofte Hagnau ka d'llig matiktik ka na sasoulat ti Mattheus ti Johannes appa. Amsterdam: Michiel Hartogh.
- Gravius, Daniel (1661). Patar ki tna-'msing-an ki Christang ofte. 't Formulier des Christendoms. Amsterdam: Michiel Hartogh.
- Adelaar, K.A. (1997). "Grammar notes on Siraya, an extinct Formosan language". Oceanic Linguistics (University of Hawai'i Press) 36 (2): 362–397. doi:10.2307/3622990. JSTOR 3622990.
- The exact phonemic value of "nḡ," as it appears in Siraya language documents, is unknown.
- Adelaar, K. Alexander. 1997. Grammar Notes on Siraya, an Extinct Formosan Language. Oceanic Linguistics, Vol. 36, No. 2 (Dec., 1997), pp. 362–397.